Washington (CNN) – Georgia Republicans have a nominee for governor after former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel conceded the GOP primary Wednesday to ex-Rep. Nathan Deal.
While less than 2,500 votes separated the two candidates in this primary runoff election, Handel told Deal late Wednesday morning that she would not request a recount as allowed under state law if the margin remained under one percent. As of Wednesday, the difference between Deal and Handel was 0.4 percent.
The telephone call, brokered by a mutual friend, lasted for about 10-15 minutes and Handel "said she would encourage her supporters to show the same excitement and enthusiasm for Nathan's candidacy as they did for hers," Deal spokesman Brian Robinson told CNN.
Handel, in a prepared statement released by her campaign, said she decided to forgo a challenge because it was important "to rally around Congressman Deal as our nominee in the fight against Roy Barnes.
"Barnes would return Georgia to a past that is best kept in our rearview mirror. We must marshal all of our resources to defeat him."
Roy Barnes is a former governor, who was the clear victor in the July Democratic primary.
The race made national headlines when several potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates weighed in on it. Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney endorsed Handel, while Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich backed Deal.